My Lucky Lyons
The bus from Galway gets to Dublin just as quickly as the train does and it takes you directly to the Dublin Airport, which can save you time in the long run. The 100 X (Express) in Dublin is a fast trip to Drogheda, the 27 takes you anywhere downtown, and the LUAS (Electric Tram) can get you almost anywhere else once you're there. If someone buys you a drink as part of a round, realize that you are making an unofficial commitment to stick around long enough to return the favor, which could be three or four more rounds away. Never be afraid to ask the locals for directions, for advice, or for their stories. Take avail of heartfelt hospitality, because the Irish won't offer it unless they mean it.
Those are just a few of the things Jan and Kevin Lyons have helped me with since I arrived in Ireland a year ago. And to think, that while they wrote to me immediately to let me know they were happy to help me...it took me months to go and find them.
Of course I'd known them in Reno. Our kids went to school together. But after 20 years in the U.S. they moved back to Ireland five years ago and now live in Drogheda. I was so used to being a host, I guess I didn't know how to be a guest. I felt that I'd be in the way. But I was so wrong. Instead I feel like I am part of their family, and they are my Lucky Lyons.
Drogheda Maritime Festival, 2017
When I worked in Dublin for a month it was a quick train up to see them and get away for the weekend. Now that I'm back in Galway, a three hour train ride on a Friday afternoon is a welcome stretch of time for writing. And I know if they've invited me, I will be welcome. We have gone on some grand adventures. From searching for a passage tomb in a nearby farmer's field....
5000 year old passage tomb in Farmer White's field
....to a weekend on Clare Island...to a driving tour of the beach towns along the north shore, my time there is always so wonderful.
...to a driving tour of the beach towns along the north shore, my time there is always so wonderful.
Sometimes we just sit in the backyard admiring the gardens Kevin has established that make their center-of-town location feel more like it's far out in the country than a mere few blocks walk to anything you could need.
I've been on historic tours with them, to museums, and sat and shared incredible stories from over the years. They are always there to answer my stupid American questions and to point me in the right direction. They are a safe haven when I feel lost. They are my Fairy Godfriends. I call them my lucky Lyons...but I'm pretty sure I've been the lucky one, getting to spend so much time with them.